Al Ain Amblers withdraw from the West Asia Premiership as they are unable to field enough prop forwards
DUBAI // After just one match of the new domestic season, Al Ain Amblers have withdrawn from the West Asia Premiership.
Sean Emmett, the Amblers chairman, said the club are unable to field enough prop forwards to support three teams, and have opted to forego the chance to play in the top flight.
The Premiership will now become a seven-team competition. Amblers will honour their fixture this weekend against Jebel Ali Dragons, but the match will now be regarded as a friendly.
“It boils down to a lack of depth, and a lack of props across the club,” Emmett said.
“There is a need for five for each team, and we have a huge shortage in Al Ain of Premiership and Conference-capable props. The depth across the other positions is effected by this.
“In terms of the future, we have to consolidate over this season then plan from there. I think, looking forward, Al Ain will stay a two men’s team club.”
Amblers were certain to face a season of toil on the field anyway, with a raft of first-choice players departing the club in the summer.
They also have sides in the second-tier Conference, and third-tier Community Leagues, without the sufficient player base to support playing the matches.
“The UAE Rugby Federation have been notified by Al Ain Amblers of their request to withdraw from the West Asia Premiership/UAE Premiership due to insufficient numbers,” the federation said in a statement.
“Therefore, any UAE Premiership games that have already been played or are due to be played by Al Ain Amblers will now be recorded as 0-0. Teams that are due to play Al Ain Amblers on the fixtures list will now have a bye weekend.”
Amblers’ struggles had already been outlined earlier in the week, when the federation issued a circular saying they regarded the club’s opening day loss to Abu Dhabi Saracens a forfeit rather than a defeat.
Al Ain had fielded two 16-year-old players - Jayden Bell and Sunia Laladidi - in the 45-3 loss without the federation’s prior consent. World Rugby guidelines mandate that players involved in senior rugby should be 17 and older.
“The dispensation form for Jayden was received Wednesday prior to the fixture,” the federation wrote to the club.
“Communication was made [that] it must be submitted 15 days prior to the fixture in which the player intends to play and he was not eligible to play the upcoming weekend. For Sunia no dispensation form has been received at all.”
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Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM